A dominant 3-1 victory for Senegal in the Group A match against hosts Qatar at the Al Thumama Stadium on Friday kept their Round of 16 qualification hopes in the FIFA World Cup alive. However, the result has put Qatar on the brink of elimination. Only a defeat for the Netherlands in the second Group A match would still keep the hosts alive in the mega event.
The opening-night nerves were nowhere to be seen as Qatar quickly got to grips with Senegal and they should have had a penalty when Ismaila Sarr bundled over Akram Afif, but Spanish referee Antonio Mateu waved away their pleas and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) did not intervene.
With Qatar defending well, it was going to take either a moment of magic or a catastrophic mistake for Senegal to break the deadlock, and unfortunately for Qatar defender Boualem Khoukhi, it turned out to be the latter.
His attempt to clear a routine low pass into the box by Krepin Diatta went disastrously wrong as he went to ground without making proper contact with the ball.
Khoukhi’s fluffed effort allowed Dia to pounce, and the 26-year-old striker needed no second invitation to rattle the ball in at the near post to give Senegal the lead.
With the Qatari crowd thinned out somewhat at the start of the second half, Famara Diedhou doubled Senegal’s advantage with a brilliant glancing header from an Ismail Jakobs corner in the 48th minute.
Muntari reduced the deficit in the 78th with a bullet header from Ismail Mohamad’s cross but Senegal substitute Bamba Dieng swept home his side’s third to consign Qatar to the bottom of Group A with no points, while their group rivals all have three.
Iran blank Wales
Late goals by Roozbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian gave Iran a crucial 2-0 win over 10-man Wales in the Group B match of the FIFA World Cup at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
Iran scored twice deep into stoppage time to stay in the World Cup and spoil Gareth Bale’s record 110th cap for his country.
A long-range effort by Cheshmi in the eight minutes into added time gave Iran the lead while Rezaeian coolly made it 2-0, three minutes from the second goal.